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Vegas Vacation

June 15, 2008

My friend suggested a Vegas trip later this summer. Actually, she booked her trip about a week or two ago, and asked if I was interested in coming on the same days, since I live so close. I wanted to do Vegas this summer anyway, so I was very interested. She is (unnecessarily!) staying at a really fancy hotel, but she located me a 5-night hotel+air package (at a less nice nearby hotel) for $680 (for two people) on Vegas.com. I checked the price just the hotel would be, and it was significantly more. It’s settled then, right? We’d fly to Vegas! Book it!!

Ah, but I wasn’t fooled so easily! When I checked hotels at other sites, they weren’t nearly as inflated. Here is my research:

Package on Vegas.com: $680 for five nights, flight + hotel. Shorter package deals not available
Gas, round trip: estimated $150 (288 each way, 20 mpg, $5/gal: (288 / 20) * 5 * 2 = 144)

Hotel on expedia/hotels.com
Wed-Thursday—- $60.00/nt
Fri-Sat —- $100.00/nt
Sun —- $60.00/nt

Total Estimated cost for transportation/lodging:
Four Nights, driving: $235 each
Five Nights, driving: $275 each
Five Nights, flying: $340 each

I have to take into consideration traffic between LA and Vegas. Feel free to chime in if you know anything about it. Driving isn’t exactly convenient, but neither is flying these days. If we drove, we’d have transportation (is that even necessary if we stay on the strip?) but we may have to think about parking.

Or…. we could make this into something even bigger and drive further to the grand canyon (probably on the fri and sat) and camp! It is another 6 hour drive (yikes) but I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon. A camp site might cost only around $20 a night. Plus firewood…. And… it is the grand canyon!

Vegas+Grand Canyon Adventure
Tues-Thursday night Vegas with friend. Drive. Hotel total: $180, gas $75
Friday morning-ish: Drive to GC. Camp $20, gas $75
Saturady: Explore GC, camp $20
Sunday: Back home, gas $120
Total transportation and lodging: $490
Per person: $245

Ahhh, I miss planning vacations!!! A Vegas+Grand Canyon adventure for under $250?? I swear this is my passion in life! I called T and he was on board, and even more on board for the second Vegas+GC idea. We might try to get a couple friends to come along (besides the friend we are meeting in Vegas), which would drop the gas cost (but I don’t want to share a room!) and they could put a tent on the same site.

Even better, I should be able to do this within my already established travel budget. I’m so happy I’ve been diligently putting $100 in there, despite the fact I don’t have any trips planned. I estimate by August I’ll have right around $300 in there, even after I buy a ticket home some time in June. Exciting!!!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2008 11:39 am

    I love to travel, too! Though I have rarely done any trips with friends (it’s usually family or me flying out to visit friends around the country) – but that Vegas+GC trip sounds awesome. Vegas isn’t too far from where I am in in Southern California, either – and I’ve never been to the GC either! Good luck planning & those prices look awesome. BTW, parking in Vegas is usually free at whatever hotel you stay at. I am assuming the $245 is just transportation/lodging & doesn’t include dining/entertainment/etc?

  2. June 15, 2008 1:23 pm

    I prefer to drive to Vegas from LA. I’ve done it many times and think it beats flying. It normally takes me less than 4 hours each way. If you think about flying, you have to get to the airport at least 30 minutes before the flight but would probably want to budget 45 minutes. Then there is traveling time to the airport and if your flight is delayed, you become really screwed. All in all, I think you are only saving about 2 hours by flying. But you don’t want to drive at the high peak times, i.e. Friday afternoon/evening, Saturday going to Vegas, and Sunday afternoon/evening going back to LA. Parking in Vegas is free and there is the added convenience of having your own transportation. You can check out old town Vegas and the Hoover Dam.

    But I think the best part about your trip is the Grand Canyon. It is truly majestic and one of the natural wonders of the world. Vegas is overrated if you aren’t gambling and going to the overpriced shows.

  3. June 15, 2008 4:18 pm

    As long as you don’t try and valet it, you can park for free in Vegas. Depending on where you are staying on the strip, they have some free transportation between the hotels (shuttles and such). You can walk a majority of the strip to check out the other hotels, but having a car at your leisure is never a bad thing. I learned that the big hotels are often farther away then they appear. LoL. If you do fly, you would probably have to take some sort of taxi or shuttle to get to your hotel and then back to the airport at the end of your trip. As far as traffic, it just depends on what day and what time of day you are traveling.

  4. June 15, 2008 4:52 pm

    I am so jealous! My hubby and I plan to travel to the States in (quite) a few years’ time with our son. Vegas is on our list but the Grand Canyon is a BIG priority.

  5. June 15, 2008 8:42 pm

    Yes, this doesn’t include extras. No hotel tax, no meals, no firewood, no fun! Of course that will be a fairly large expense, but I’ll plan for that.

    We will plan to come back from the grand canyon sunday night, but we will head to vegas midweek.

    Thanks for the tips! I might go to one over priced show, but not much gambling. It may be overrated, but I think I’d like to see it, and I definitely would like to see my friend! Perhaps we’ll switch the proportion to 2 nights in vegas and 3 nights camping……

    Yeah, flying is sounding like a worse option the more I think about it.

  6. Gypsie permalink
    June 16, 2008 8:28 am

    I have to go through vegas to get home, so I might be able to help you out. There are a ton of FREE coupon books up and down the strip and your hotel will usually have one hotel specific. These books usually include 2 for 1 ticket prices, buffets, etc. If you want to see a big show (like Blue Man Group – highly recommended), then you should get tix in advance.

    Also, some hotels have FREE gambling classes, where they teach you the game (black jack, craps, etc). There usually include some “free” money to learn with for after the class.

    Most hotels have free parking if you dont use valet and will let you keep your vehicle there for an extended amount of time (when mom and I went to Costa Rica we stayed in Vegas the night before and the night after our trip, we picked the same hotel for both nights and they let us leave the car there and take the shuttle to the airport).

    Most of the strip is within walking distance. If you go in August it will be HOT! There are shuttles, cabs, and a monorail type system that you can use. The bus is the cheapest way to go though.

    One place not to miss is the old strip. It is now a covered street with a laser light show (free) everynight. It is also cheaper to eat, drink and gamble here. You can take a cab for about $10 from the main strip.

    If you want to stay near the strip (2 block walking distance) at a nice hotel (with huge rooms), try the Tuscany. It has large suits for less than the main hotels, and a fabulous italian restaurant (my favorite!). Plus since it is off the strip, gambling is a tad cheaper here as well.

    About a block from the Tuscany is the best $6 steak dinner ever at Ellis Island. If is first come, first served so expect to wait but the food is good and cheap for vegas. Plus they have their own Microbrewery and beers are $1.

    As for the grand canyon, it is expensive to eat/drink there so pack a cooler. I recommend taking the train there (it is absolutely beautiful) but I am not sure of the price as my parents took me and DH there via train.

    Have fun! If you have more questions, I have spent way more time in Vegas than anyone sane person should.

  7. June 16, 2008 9:14 am

    @gypsie – Thanks for all the tips!!! I’ll definitely be using them as I plan.

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